Vegan Week 3 (tips for success and surprising results)

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I guess I noticed it on our two mile walk.  The one we did later that day, not the two mile hike up a steep incline we did that morning.  My knee wasn’t bothering me in the least.  Ok, first of all, no one can ever tell me again that one needs lots of protein from animal sources for energy and working out.  Goodness, we have so much energy we are hiking all over the place!  That has been one really great result of going vegan.  The other, is my knee.

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I hurt it when I was seventeen, so…a few years ago.  I tend to it with herbal concoctions and intermittent yoga to keep  it at bay.  The third floor apartment though was really doing my knee in.  You may have noticed that I have been hobbling around more.  This makes my back hurt then and I am instantly aged and grumpy!  Well, my knee hasn’t hurt.  And I bet it’s been two weeks.  So yes, we know that animal products create or worsen inflammatory issues like arthritis, gout, and other skeletal issues, but what I am eating now is really helping.  Between the two to four cups of homemade kombucha (glucosamine and B12) we are enjoying plus the quart of green smoothie each morning with the heavy dollop of coconut oil put in it, plus the nuts and nut butters in the smoothie and on bread, and the increased antioxidant intake from all these plant foods, my skeletal system is healing itself.  And that, my friends, is an amazing thing to report so early in this experiment!

Here are some tips for going and staying plant based:

#1 Start the day with a great smoothie.  For two people, put in 4 cups of greens of your liking such as kale, spinach, chard, collards, romaine, dandelions or other wild greens.  Add 4 cups of fruit, a combination of bananas, apples, kiwi, mango, peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, pears, and a good amount of frozen fruit to make it nice and cold.  Add a fat to make it bioavailable.  A dollop of sunflower or almond butter, peanut butter or coconut oil, or a handful of nuts.  Add spices like cinnamon or cardamom Sweeten with maple syrup or honey.  Make more filling with a handful of oats (a good nervine for pain) added in uncooked.  A good chug of coffee if needed!  Fill the container half way with water or cashew milk or juice and swirl away in a good blender.  Imagine that kind of healing power in a breakfast!

#2 When going out be prepared.  When Doug wanted to go to Panera and have coffee and bagels I put his creamer and cream cheese in my bag.  It isn’t dairy so it keeps rather well and then we don’t feel deprived.  Seem silly?  It’s not.  We get our time reading, writing, sitting outside enjoying coffee and bagels together, we just add the creamer and cream cheese that is healthier for us.

#3 Try new restaurants.  Gnarly Root, City O City, Watercourse, Leaf, just to name a few, are offering up creative vegan dishes.

#4 Get creative in the kitchen!  Doug and I have been having fun creating veggie meats out of the Vegan Bean Book.  “Chicken” made with chickpeas, wheat gluten, spices, and dipped in panko are baked and go from lemon chicken with pasta and mushrooms to burritos with lots of lettuce, tomato, salsa, and vegan cheese.  We also make “chorizo” using black beans, millet, quinoa, and New Mexican red chile (our staple around here!).  That went into a roasted sweet and new potatoes, corn, and green chili casserole with my homemade taco sauce and vegan cheese mixed in.  The fresh vegetables look so beautiful to me.

We are fluctuating between three pounds, down and up, because muscle is heavier than fat, and where a woman is in her cycle, and water and waste all plays into the weight scale.  But, we are feeling great.  All the beautiful fluids and fats and antioxidants are making us look a little younger even.  You know, I don’t think we are ever going back.

Vegan Road Update (first week)

 

IMG_0705We were vegan when we got chickens. Their eggs tasted so amazing, pasture raised chickens, organic feed from our own spoiled girls. We hadn’t consumed eggs in over two years. Even now, I don’t know if those eggs affected us all that adversely. The problem was that once you open that door, you allow yourself to eat eggs at restaurants and at places. All or nothing.

emily and Flower

Then we got goats. Oh my, they were cute. We believed and touted and taught that raw milk was not nearly as bad as pasteurized milk. Never mind the fact that we knew, of course, that we are the only mammals that will kick the babies off (and send them off to slaughter) so that we can have milk from another animals’ boobies. But cheese, though…mmm…did you know that cheese has the same effect on the brain as heroin? Indeed, it is that addictive. A chemical reaction takes place that makes it quite difficult to stop eating cheese.

And then we’ll only eat chickens that a local farmer produced, only….pretty soon we are just eating everything because that is how humans work. All or nothing. We didn’t want to just go vegetarian, because the dairy industry IS the meat industry. We prayed diligently that we wouldn’t have boy goats. Their fate is not great. In larger goat milk dairies there is not a large community wanting young goat. You can imagine what happens to the babies. They just get disposed of. The girls become lucky, until they stop producing well in a few years. Milk cows rarely sit or lay down. Their babies are taken and become veal. Being a righteous vegetarian is incredibly hypocritical. We’ve been there. We were the spouting vegetarians unknowingly causing so much harm.

Well, that is all well and good but if you can’t see the animals suffering it is easy to convince ourselves that maybe the research on animal products causing the majority of disease is wrong! Maybe the animals aren’t suffering that much. Maybe….it’s easy to not “see”. So, we needed health to be our guide.

After we started drinking our righteous raw milk Doug got a serious sinus issue. Post nasal drip, choking, bloating, he seems sick. It got worse at night. Seemed to be linked to eating. Or sitting.  Or whatever we blamed it on. After one week vegan he didn’t have it yesterday. We’ll see what happens as we stay dairy free.

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Shyanne’s vegan lemon mint cake

Doug lost three pounds this week. I lost two. I have a pretty good figure so I won’t lose much more but I do want to get rid of the inflammation and circulatory issues in my body.

We walked each day. We need to incorporate a little more exercise into our routine. It’s funny, the healthy eating triggers more healthy habits. I don’t want to wear makeup or color my hair. I am more mindful. I feel better when I see wildlife. More compassionate. A deeper connection. I can’t explain it really. But I feel closer to the natural world. I haven’t needed as much herbal antidepressant this week. We just feel better.

It’s only been a week. We can expect to detox still. That can scare folks if they aren’t used to it but we know what to expect. You know, we are actually looking forward to it?

We had our fun, ate everything in sight, and are now seeing how just eating meat and dairy for a few years could so profoundly affect our health.

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Next week I’ll preview a few cookbooks and I may put mine back into print. We have started every morning with a smoothie with any of the following combination:

Frozen fruit, bananas, apples, dark leafy greens, carrots, oatmeal (grinds up, adds sustenance), honey, almond butter, peanut butter, ice, honey.

This morning we had a smoothie for two.

Add to blender, 2 bananas, ½ cup of oats, ½ cup of cold coffee, 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 3 Tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 ½ cups of cashew milk. Roughly, I just eyeballed it all. Just throw in what you love.

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Last night we dined on miso soup and fried asparagus with drinks as we talked about our days.

This is good eating.  This is a good life.